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Human trafficking, is defined as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or a position of vulnerability, or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”. There are more actors today fighting this crime than ever before, and yet, despite the tremendous efforts and financial investments, there is no evidence to suggest that human trafficking is on the decrease.


The aim of the project was to support stakeholders in combating and disrupting human trafficking by assessing and consolidating information surrounding the perpetrators and the wider trafficking enterprise.

TRACE adopted a multi-disciplinary approach: legal, criminological, socio-economical, psychological, and law enforcement-oriented, in order to provide a full account of the phenomenon, and build upon on-going European and national projects and activities. It focuses on the activities of the perpetrators by developing an understanding of the structure, social relationships, modus operandi, travel routes and technologies associated with different types of human trafficking.


Our Role

Trilateral Research were the coordinators of the TRACE project. Moreover, we led WP4 on the role of technology in human trafficking. This required an analysis of how technology is being used in the trafficking of human beings. Additionally, the research team provided recommendations on how technology can help combat this crime. Lastly, Trilateral was deeply involved in the dissemination of the project, including writing academic and popular press articles and the creation and development of the project website.


  • The primary impact of the TRACE project was the provision of actionable insight into aspects of the business of human trafficking.
  • TRACE impacted the security and society theme by aiding in the protection of citizens from threats resulting from organised crime, specifically, the trafficking of human beings. By reading the various deliverables law enforcement agencies, policy makers and civil society bodies have up-to-date information regarding the complex nature of human trafficking and its industry and the adequacy of policies that aim to fight it. Furthermore, insights into how the crime takes place were much desired by law enforcement officials (especially the police, border guards and the judiciary) because it allows them to better recognise and predict crime to take action in the interest of security.
  • By eliciting possible future trends in human trafficking and formulating hypotheses in relation to important current political and social phenomena, such as increased migration into Europe, the TRACE project has contributed to ensuring the security of citizens and to preventing them from becoming victims of organized crime.
  • By providing state of the art information on the profile of traffickers, their modus operandi and other aspects of the trafficking business, the TRACE project supported prevention and combatting of the crime that will reduce the overall consequential cost of the crime to governments, authorities and society at large. An increased understanding of the economic model of human trafficking, the factors which influence it and the links to organized crime, as well as the tools, developed to predict future trends, will lead to increased economic efficiency in the use of judicial and law enforcement resources.
  • The TRACE project aided society by raising awareness of human trafficking generally.

Project partners

  • Trilateral Research (Project coordinator), UK
  • Vrije University of Brussel, BELGIUM
  • Tilburg University, THE NETHERLANDS
  • The Council of the Sea Baltic Sea States, Task Force against Trafficking in Human Beings, SWEDEN
  • National Agency against Trafficking in Persons, ROMANIA
  • Cyprus Police – Office of Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, CYPRUS
  • The International La Strada Association, THE NETHERLANDS
  • Animus Association Foundation, BULGARIA

For more information follow us on Twitter @TRACE_EU and LinkedIn

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The TRACE project - TRafficking as A Criminal Enterprise - has received funding from the European Research and Innovation programme FP7 under grant agreement No 607669.

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